Funny man Billy Crystal was in New Orleans on Friday, Sept. 21, for the AARP Life@50+ Expo. Held at the Ernest N. Memorial Convention Center, the convention brought guests from all over the country. Crystal stopped by to promote his new film "Parental Guidance," coming out Christmas Day. New Orleans Magazine got a couple minutes to chat with him about the film, his grandkids and raising money for Hurricane Katrina victims.
New Orleans Magazine: "Parental Guidance" took about five years to finally get made. Why did you think it was so special to keep going?
Billy Crystal: When you see it, you'll understand why. It's a movie for everybody. It's really funny. It's very touching, those are the kinds of movies I love to make. Movies aren't made like this anymore. And to navigate the waters of the studios to say this is a real wonderful movie that everyone can go to and have a common experience, you know? So here we are.
NOM: You have "Monsters University" coming up, too, and you are a grandfather. Have you found that you like making movies they can enjoy, too?
BC: Well that's the thrill of it. Recently we were able to sit and watch "The Princess Bride" together, and that's 25 years old. So when you can do that and sit there with them and say “Grandpa was in that,” it's really wonderful. And it wouldn't just be for me. Every family can do that. They can sit and watch these things together. So that's a great thing.
NOM: In 2006, you helped raise a lot of money for victims of Hurricane Katrina with Comic Relief. So what's it like to be back here and see it rebuilding?
BC: Well it's great. We raised a lot of money with Comic Relief over the years, but when I was on tour with my one-person show, that's when Katrina hit. After the end of every show, I asked the audience just to give me a dollar. Give me a dollar each, and I'll match it. So we raised $549,000. When I closed the show in Los Angeles, President Clinton came on stage and I was able to give him a check, so that was a thrilling thing.
Watch the trailer for "Parental Guidance":